Every year about this time, I go to my space in the basement, pull out the tubs and boxes of old football coaching materials, and make an attempt to cull things that no longer justify the space they take up in the house.
It’s a painful journey at times, like Dante descending into a deeper circle of Hell, but it’s mostly a joyous experience. Almost every piece of paper, from notebooks to scouting reports to journal articles to coaching books, comes with a memory. Some good, some bad.
Yesterday, I sent three full trash bags to their final resting place at the landfill. There is plenty more for another year, but those remaining things have earned a reprieve. Someday it will be condensed to one shelf of books and one Rubbermaid tub, but today is not that day.
There are also things I will never part with. Yesterday, I ran across one of those pieces. It was Page 3 from Coach Paul Lane’s Tiger Football Player Handbook in his first year as Head Football Coach at Clay Center Community High School.
The year was 2000. The kids were ready for a change. The football community was ready f0r a change. Everyone was looking to have fun and enjoy high school football again.
I was lucky enough to be a part of it. And you know what?
It was more than just fun and a return to enjoying the game. IT WAS A BLAST!
Here is Page 3 from that Coach Lane’s first CCCHS Tiger Football Handbook. It had a profound effect on hundreds of young men and one fish-out-of-football-water assistant coach in the year 2000 who was struggling to learn “channeled intensity”.
COACH LANE’S OVERALL PHILOSOPHIES
There is a fine line between being an “average” football team or being League Champions. To become one of the best, we must be a team of passion, toughness, and togetherness.
THE THREE PILLARS OF A PLAYOFF TEAM ARE:
FROM 100% OF THE TEAM
100% OF THE TIME
ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND
- School is a prerequisite to your participation in this sport.
- Strive to excel in all classes.
- Good habits are developed by repetition and a desire to get better.
- The is NO SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK.
- A solid work ethic is of the utmost importance — on and off the football field.
- You play on Friday night like you practice during the week.
- You are expected to give 100% at all times.
- You EARN THE RIGHT to represent your team under the lights on Friday nights.
- DISCIPLINE WILL GUIDE YOU THROUGH ADVERSITY.
- We must do the little things well by focusing on fundamentals.
- We must be the most physical team on the field.
- We must stay focused with “channeled intensity”.
- We must give maximum effort on every down.
- We must be in great physical condition to ward off mental mistakes when tired.
- WE MUST BE A FOURTH QUARTER TEAM.
- When a teammate makes a mistake, be the first one to help him get over it.
- WORRY ONLY ABOUT THAT WHICH YOU CAN CONTROL.
- Win the turnover battle and respond aggressively to ANY turnover.
- Be unselfish in your play.
- Accentuate the positive — don’t be negative.
- Don’t get too high over any victory, and don’t get too low over any loss.
- REPRESENT YOUR SCHOOL WITH PRIDE AT ALL TIMES.
- BE DIGNIFIED IN EVERYTHING YOU DO.
- GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE.
- ACKNOWLEDGE ALL THOSE WHO HELP YOU SUCCEED.
- NEVER LET THE TEAM OR TEAMMATE DOWN.
- NEVER WALK AWAY FROM A JOB UNDONE!
- IT DOESN’T TAKE TALENT TO HUSTLE.